After a weekend filled with uncertainty and precautionary measures, the New England Patriots are on their way to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs: as first reported by Pro Football Talk, the team’s overnight point-of-care Coronavirus tests came all back negative, which means that the team has now been cleared to board buses and planes to be taken to its Week 4 game this morning.
The Patriots’ contest at Arrowhead Stadium will be kicked off at 7:05 pm ET, and still take place under close supervision after one player on each team was tested positive for Covid-19 over the weekend: New England starting quarterback Cam Newton tested positive late on Friday, with Kansas City practice squad quarterback Jordan Ta’amu doing the same one day later. Both players were quarantined and facilities closed down over the weekend.
Along the way, the Patriots produced a series of negative tests. The latest now gives the green light for the team to fly to Kansas City.
That being said, the situation will still be handled carefully to avoid a scenario like the one that is unfolding in Tennessee: a total of 20 players and staff members have been infected with the virus since the team’s first positive test on September 24. As a safety measure, New England will fly to Missouri using two separate planes — one carrying those who had been in close contact with Cam Newton, the other the rest of the team.
While the latest test results are encouraging and a good sign for tonight’s contest, they do not guarantee that Newton’s positive test is an isolated incident. The Titans’ outbreak also started with just one player who quickly was isolated. A team trip to Minnesota a few days later, however, allowed the virus to spread.
Such a scenario is obviously the worst possible case, and anything but guaranteed to happen in New England or Kansas City. However, it is still worth keeping in mind as an example of how quickly the virus can spread if undetected and not successfully traced through an organization. The Patriots’ safety measures, meanwhile, seem to target exactly that with the goal of keeping players and coaches safe after this weekend’s scare.